A new article written by Martin de Jong, Robin Pierce and myself is now out in Environment and Planning A, “Political and ethical aspects in the ethnography of policy translation: Research experiences from Turkey and China”. You can download the author copy here.
A currently burgeoning literature in planning and policy studies engages with the travel of policy models across countries and sites through novel concepts such as policy translation, policy mobility, and mutations. Increasingly, this literature calls for ethnographic methods to study the travel of policy models. Such methods require various degrees of researcher’s participation in the policy process. As a result, ethnographers become entangled in complex webs of relationships during and after their fieldwork, which introduces political and ethical dimensions to ethnographic fieldwork. The literature on policy mobilities and translation, however, has provided few practical guidelines regarding the politics and ethics of conducting ethnographic research. Based on two vignettes from our research experiences in China and Turkey, we discuss the politics and ethics of applying ethnography to policy translation and offer a number of hints for future researchers.